Improving profits and boosting customer satisfaction is a top priority for all business owners. Satisfied customers are more likely to become repeat customers, which leads to increased revenue and profits. This is particularly true in the auto repair industry, where trust and reputation are critical success factors. In light of that, we’ve put together this short tutorial on 3 ways auto repair shops can increase revenue and customer satisfaction.
1. Improve communication with customers.
Even more so than in other industries, improved communication between with customers is key to building a relationship of trust in automotive repair businesses. There are several steps you can take to improve communication between your shop and its customers:
- Take the time to listen to your customers and understand what they need. Offer honest, genuine communication in return. You must learn to accept negative feedback and use it to improve your customer service. Remember, the goal is relationship building, which is based on trust and open communication.
- Communicate with customers in the manner of their choosing. The majority of today’s consumers prefer e-mail and text message communications, not phone calls. It is important to realize that while most people have a smartphone, they don’t really use it as a phone. They use it as a tiny, hand-held computer. It is understandable, then, that they have a preference for text messaging and e-mail communications. This is especially true with respect to the younger generation of vehicle owners.
This task is easily accomplished with an online appointment scheduler like EZauto Scheduler®. Not only does it enable customer appointment self-scheduling (discussed in further detail later in this article), but it also enables e-mail and text message appointment notifications, reminders and confirmations. As a result, you can communicate with customers in accordance with their preferences.
- Connect with your customers on social media. If you don’t already have social media pages for your auto repair shop, now would be a good time to begin signing up and building your profiles. Social media also allows you to get clear messages out to customers and potential future customers. More outreach and engagement = more customers. More customers = more revenue.
But there is a caveat to social media: Today’s consumers use the internet to gather information on any business they’re thinking of engaging with. Not surprisingly, they know that social media is like a digital “tell all.” As a result, you’ve got to be diligent. Monitor activity on your social pages every day and respond to comments, whether they be positive or negative. That’s because non-response on social media sends a signal that you aren’t paying attention to your customers and prospective customers. Moreover, they will interpret your lack of reaction as your lack of concern for what they’re saying about your business.
2. Use technology to your competitive advantage.
As we said earlier in this article, there is technology available to you that can enable customer appointment self-scheduling. It’s called online appointment scheduling software. But not all appointment schedulers are created equal. You need to choose a scheduler that you can embed on your website home page and social media pages to make it easy for customers to see your calendar and available appointments. And you want a scheduler that will send unlimited text message and e-mail appointment notifications, reminders and confirmations. EZauto Scheduler enables all of that.
Equally important is an appointment scheduler that can be configured to manage multiple bays and technicians. The ability to schedule complex, overlapping appointments is another “must,” as is the ability to schedule recurring appointments with automatic reminders and appointment confirmations so you will be better able to retain existing customers. Remember, repeat customers are the lifeblood of every business, so you need to invest in tools that encourage that repeat purchase.
EZauto Scheduler is also fully integrated with CARFAX®, the most comprehensive vehicle history database of used cars and light trucks in North America. Auto repair shops can report repairs to CARFAX right within EZauto Scheduler.
3. Make it easy for customers to pay you.
Today’s consumers are busy, juggling work, school, kids and a variety of other activities. If you don’t yet accept credit cards or are using an antiquated processing terminal and authorization gateway, it’s time for you to rethink payment options. The truly fabulous thing about EZauto Scheduler is that customers can pay you right within the scheduler. The built-in payment module works with all payment gateways.
Customers who return for services like oil changes, tire rotations and other regular maintenance can pre-pay you at the time they schedule their appointment. You can store their credit card information in the scheduler and charge their credit card automatically. The scheduler does all the payment work for you and for your customers.
The more you embrace technology, the more transparent your business will feel to customers. Many consumers view auto repair shops as being untrustworthy and uncaring. Improving communication and embracing technology will strengthen your relationships with customers, will demonstrate your shop’s trustworthiness and will build customer loyalty.